A few weeks ago, we went on a whirlwind air/road trip for our anniversary. While we thoroughly enjoyed seeing friends and family, we will probably break up our visits into weekend trips in the future as it was quite a lot to bounce around from here to there and everywhere and never really unpack anywhere.
One of the highlights of the trip was getting to visit a lifelong friend in her new home. They are in the midst of remodeling and have finished most of the big projects including a fabulous new kitchen. Since we wanted to see the progress, we asked if we could meet up at her place. She kindly offered to cook us dinner, boy were we in for a treat!
What captured me most was the simplicity of the presentation for her pollo asado tacos. They were DELICIOUS! I have made tacos before even for company, but I got so many ideas watching her preparation.
She cut up tomatoes, onions, and cilantro and put them on a plate with some shredded cheese, hello serve yourself! She also put salsa, guacamole and chips on the table.
She used a griddle to warm the tortillas and then put them in a tortilla warmer. Yes, we now own both. 🙂
Since we got home, I have made tacos twice already. Last week I made refried black bean tacos and this week I made ground beef tacos.
As I get back to working, tacos feel like a simple and easy home-cooked meal plus I love that you can change up the protein for completely different meals each week. We get bored with the same thing over and over, also partially how I have become a freezer foodie saving extras for way later….
This week I used Alton Brown’s Taco Potion No 19 to make his All American Beef Taco Recipe. I tend to keep ground beef in my freezer for making last minute pasta sauces or tacos. For some reason, I prefer not to use frozen beef for hamburgers, but I am sure it is good for that too.
We try to eat minimally processed food in our home. If I cannot understand the ingredient, I feel like I probably should not be eating it hence I discovered Alton’s taco recipe. I love that it is as simple as measuring spices into a jar.
Then giving them a good shake and voila!
I make a vat of Diana Kennedy’s* black beans and then stick them in the freezer in their broth in about can sized portions. Mostly I use them to make refried beans. It takes 10 minutes to make these and once you make them, you will not want to go back to the canned stuff.
Diana Kennedy’s Frijoles Negros de Olla (From My Mexican Kitchen)
Makes 7 to 8 cups, without the broth
1lb dried black beans
1/2 medium white onion, roughly sliced
1 tablespoon lard (optional, I use butter as I never have lard)
Salt to taste
Sprig of Epazote (I used dried as I have not been able to find fresh)
Pick over the beans to remove stones. Cover them in a bowl with cold water, skim off anything else you missed.
Drain the beans and put them into a heavy pot with the onion and lard or butter, if using. Cover well with hot water; about 4 inches above level of beans. Cover the pot and set over high heat until it comes to boil. Lower heat to medium and cook until skins are tender. Add salt and epazote and continue cooking until beans are soft, not falling apart. Approx 2 to 3 hrs.
Keep hot water on hand to top off if water gets low, don’t add cold water. (I use a Le Creuset stock pot aka French Oven)
Makes about 3 cups
About 1/3 cup lard (again I use butter)
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped white onion
3.5 cups cooked beans in broth (I take out of freezer and heat in microwave, maybe I will move to heating in small pot…)
Heat the lard in a heavy 10-inch skillet (I use All-Clad stainless steel that I have had since our wedding and LOVE), add the onion, and fry over medium heat without browning until translucent, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the beans and their broth and continue cooking over fairly high heat, mashing them down to a textured past, about 10 minutes.
Place everything in bowls and serve! Even though it is usually the two of us for dinner, I like to plate things up. It makes things a bit more fun.
*Diana Kennedy is a good friend of my grandma. Small, small world when you have family that lived in Mexico. My grandma gave me her copy of From My Mexican Kitchen a few years ago, sadly the black beans are the only thing I have made so far, but I want to make tortillas soon as my other grandma brought us a tortilla press from Mexico.